Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Sunday, 21 June 2009

I seem to be even more lackadaisical about planning holidays than I used to be (and that's saying something). I've never been one of those people who sits down on Boxing Day to plan their upcoming summer, nor to stick to the same old place (no "good old Broadstairs!" for me - though I do seem to have been to Paris a lot recently); but this year I really haven't given the matter much thought. Perhaps it's something to do with working on short-term contracts at a job which isn't particularly stressful, but I'm not panting to get away.

I do like reading the travel supplements, if only with relief that I now know enough about more and more places to be sure I don't particularly want to go there. Après-ski (and indeed avant- and pendant-ski)? Pfui! Stretching out in the sun on a tropical beach? Not likely. Adventure camping in South America? Nada y nada. Luxuriating among the glitterati in some achingly up-to-the-minute boutique hotel? Per-leese.

But my eye eas caught by a piece in last weekend's supplement about the joys of Mechelen.

Hmmm... It's easy to get to by train - Belgium's practically next door; and it boasts a high and mighty tower, with an inspiring view. According to the (presumably much esteemed) local scribe Libert Vanderkerken: "Filled with joy, you look around and greet the fields, the woods, the moon and stars. A grandiose sight unfolds and fills your eyes and heart with overwhelming joy, and in this mood you'll find that precious peace of mind."

How can one resist?

And who couldn't be charmed that the aforesaid tower celebrates St Rumbold?

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